Apple filing illustrates wireless iPod sync, docking station

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple Computer's iPod digital music players could gain wireless capabilities through an enhanced docking station before such capabilities are actually built into the players themselves.



In a recent filing with an overseas patent office, member's of the company's iPod division describe a content synchronization system for digital media players that include built-in wireless technology or have access to a docking station that includes such capabilities.



The filing portrays a syncing system very much like the one implemented in shipping versions of Apple's iTunes jukebox software, where media files on a personal computer are synchronized with an iPod when the device is connected to the computer through a USB or FireWire cable. However, the concept builds on such technology by routinely checking for the presence of a media player with wireless transfer capabilities before checking for a wired connection.



"The synchronization can be automatically performed when the media player that supports wireless communications is placed within a wireless network that also couples to the host device," the company wrote in the filing. "In [...] another embodiment, synchronization can be automatically performed when the media player is placed in a docking station that supports wireless communications."



Apple said the wireless network can be sponsored by a host computer or some other device, such as a wireless router or hub. However it did not specify a particular wireless medium for which the technology would be based, saying only that such technology would typically be short ranged.



"The wireless network typically has a local area or a limited range," the company said. "The infrastructure of the wireless network can include one or more of 802.11 systems, Bluetooth systems, 900 MHz systems, or other localized wireless data transfer means."



What Apple did say is that the synchronization technology would tie into its digital rights management scheme, where wireless connectivity between a computer and media player could be restricted if it was determined that the player was not authorized to sync with a particular computer and its associated media library.







The Cupertino, Calif.-based company added that, "One advantage of the invention is that a user is able to manage a media player with a host computer over a wireless connection" where "synchronization can be performed without a physical connection and without any requirement for line-of-sight arrangements."



"Still another advantage of the invention is that a larger portable device, such as a vehicle, bag or case, can house or contain the media player and also optionally provide wired/wireless communication capability," Apple said.



The July 2006 filing is credited to three prominent members of Apple's iPod team, including iPod Division senior vice president Tony Fadell, iPod product line director Stanley Ng and iTunes software chief Jeff Robbin.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    SWEET! Say hello to my new car stereo system, it automatically updates my library every time I park it in the garage.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    Quote:

    Apple Computer's iPod digital music players could gain wireless capabilities through an enhanced docking station before such capabilities are actually built into the players themselves.



    Fer cryin' out loud, just build it into the iPod already! Stop trying to avoid the inevitable!
  • Reply 3 of 34
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    Haven't Apple already got this "Wireless Docking Station" ?



    It's called "Airport Express". Give it a firmware update so that plugging a USB iPod into it connects it to the network and you're done.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    sabonsabon Posts: 133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich


    Fer cryin' out loud, just build it into the iPod already! Stop trying to avoid the inevitable!



    If battery life dropped even 5 minutes from current battery life expectations people would SCREAM. That's why it probably won't be built directly into the iPod.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    timuscatimusca Posts: 120member
    Not to mention that once Apple puts a feature into the iPod, they have to support it forever... they are VERY selective of what they put into the iPod. As an accessory, they can drop it if it doesn't work out. And if it turns out to be very profitable? Then, they'll add it to the player itself.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TimUSCA


    Not to mention that once Apple puts a feature into the iPod, they have to support it forever... they are VERY selective of what they put into the iPod. As an accessory, they can drop it if it doesn't work out. And if it turns out to be very profitable? Then, they'll add it to the player itself.



    I don't think Apple is above abandoning features. Heck, the iPod line has shown this, where is the Firewire connectivity?
  • Reply 7 of 34
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    They could always put this into an OPTIONAL wireless dock.



    It's not a huge feature, but if true, it would be nice in allowing me to dock my iPod at my stereo--far from my computer--where it can currently charge but not synch. With a wireless dock, it could still synch.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TimUSCA


    Not to mention that once Apple puts a feature into the iPod, they have to support it forever... they are VERY selective of what they put into the iPod. As an accessory, they can drop it if it doesn't work out. And if it turns out to be very profitable? Then, they'll add it to the player itself.



    How about a 'for example' here... Anyone privy to information regarding how Apple's FM tuner add-on for the iPod has been selling?
  • Reply 9 of 34
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich


    How about a 'for example' here... Anyone privy to information regarding how Apple's FM tuner add-on for the iPod has been selling?



    It's a good question. I think $50 is a little ridiculous, so I've held off.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    timuscatimusca Posts: 120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM


    I don't think Apple is above abandoning features. Heck, the iPod line has shown this, where is the Firewire connectivity?



    This is true... I was pissed when they did this as I have an eMac with no USB 2.0.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TimUSCA


    This is true... I was pissed when they did this as I have an eMac with no USB 2.0.



    I am curious, did you decide not to get a new iPod as a result?
  • Reply 12 of 34
    timuscatimusca Posts: 120member
    Actually, I still got one... but it took friggin forever to load my music to it since it was running on USB 1.1. It was more of a nuisance than anything else. I will say however that I am updating music on my iPod less frequently because I don't feel like waiting. We've become more impatient with technology I suppose... I remember waiting for mtv.com to load in 30 minutes and being amazed. It would come up with a new loading bar for every image on the page.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TimUSCA


    This is true... I was pissed when they did this as I have an eMac with no USB 2.0.



    But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    timuscatimusca Posts: 120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdj21ya


    But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.



    Yes, it works fine... no problem at all. It just seems weird that the 1G iPod had firewire and then they drop it assuming everyone has USB 2.0.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM


    I don't think Apple is above abandoning features. Heck, the iPod line has shown this, where is the Firewire connectivity?



    Jobs himself said that. Once a feature is in, it's very difficult to remove. He's right. Once it's in, it becomes the new "standard".
  • Reply 16 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,874member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich


    How about a 'for example' here... Anyone privy to information regarding how Apple's FM tuner add-on for the iPod has been selling?



    Very well, from what I've read.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Couln't they possibly get the Firewire controller chip into the Universal Dock and everyone could be happy?
  • Reply 18 of 34
    Sweet!



    Yeh, it'll probably be an accessory to see how it goes. Then if it goes well, which I'm sure it will then it'll be put into the next model.



    Then again, I'm hoping they take a chance and it's built into the unit from the start. Anyone who screams about the battery life going down because wi-fi is added to the unit is silly. Of course battery life would suffer if they used the existing battery technology. But I'm sure they'll be an option to turn the wireless off when ur not using it :P



    I've set aside £300 for xmas for a new iPod. Got the iPod photo atm. Not interested in getting another one until I see wireless syncing or that touchscreen that everyones been on about
  • Reply 19 of 34
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdj21ya


    But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.



    USB 1.x maxes out at 12Mbps or 1.5MBps. For just songs, it's fine, I've linked my mini to a USB1.1 jack at work but it's not something I'd want to do with video.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    802.11 would be way too slow for syncing more than a few songs. Even 802.11g, which goes up to "54 Mbps" (shown to be more like 20 Mbps in real life) would mean it takes 20 times longer to sync than over FireWire 400 or USB 2.0. I don't see the point; it would just drive up the cost of the device without adding any significant value.
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